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Hawks trade Mo Williams to Nuggets, sign Gary Neal

em>Denver Nuggets press release /em> DENVER – The Denver Nuggets have traded the rights to G Cenk Akyol to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for G Mo Williams and cash considerations, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today. Subsequently, Williams was waived by Denver following the trade. Akyol, 29, was originally drafted by the Hawks with the 59th overall selection in the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft. The 6-6 guard from Turkey currently plays for Acibadi Universitesi Istanbul of the Turkish Basketball League and has appeared in 11 games this season, averaging 6.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.64 assists in 21.4 minutes per game. Williams, 34, was traded from Cleveland to Atlanta along with Mike Dunleavy and a conditional 2019 first round pick in exchange for Kyle Korver on Jan. 7, 2017 (Jan. 8, PHL time). He has appeared in a total of 818 career games (525 starts) over 15 seasons with Milwaukee, Cleveland, Utah, L.A. Clippers, Portland, Minnesota and Charlotte, averaging 13.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 29.2 minutes. em>Atlanta Hawks press release /em> ATLANTA – The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club has signed guard Gary Neal to a 10-day contract, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. Neal has played six seasons in the NBA with San Antonio, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Minnesota and Washington, and has averaged 9.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists, logging 21.4 minutes in 350 games (31 starts). The native of Baltimore, MD played collegiately at La Salle (2002-04) and Towson (2005-07) and was undrafted in 2007. Neal, who was most recently with the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League, will wear uniform No. 14.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Young guns carry fight for KaTropa as TNT stops Mahindra

With TNT looking more vulnerable than ever, the KaTropa's top picks from the last two PBA Drafts took matters into their own hands to at least right the ship momentarily. The flagship MVP franchise arrested a two-game slide Wednesday as the KaTropa stopped Mahindra, 104-92, in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City. TNT picked things up in the second half, outscoring the Floodbuster by 18 points to move out of a five-team logjam for 5th-9th places and join Blackwater for fourth with a 5-4 record. Troy Rosario led the KaTropa in scoring with 18 points to go along with nine rebounds while RR Pogoy had a career-high 16 points on top of four assists and four steals. Mo Tautuaa added 14 points, four rebounds, two assists and one block for TNT. 'I see my players finding ways to play together and deliver a positive outing for us. I know it's a porcess but I'm hoping that it takes us to the right direction,' head coach Nash Racela said. 'The earlier they accept that reality, it'll be better for our team overall,' he added. After putting up an early 10-point lead, TNT actually fell behind in the first half as the Floodbuster immediately turned the game around in the second quarter, carrying a 57-51 cushion at the break. However, Rosario, Pogoy, and Tautuaa waxed hot in the third, nearly matching Mahindra's entire output as the KaTropa regained control. Behind their young guns, TNT veterans Larry Fonacier (11 points), Kris Rosales (11 points), and Jayson Castro (10 points) also finished in double figures. Alex Mallari led the way for the Floodbuster with 19 as Mahindra dropped to 2-6 after a two-game run came to an end.   The scores: TNT 104 - Rosario 18, Pogoy 16, Tautuaa 14, Rosales 11, Fonacier 11, Castro 10, Reyes 7, Rosser 7, De Ocampo 7, Golla 2, Carey 1, Williams 0.  MAHINDRA 92 - Mallari 19, Paniamogan 10, Yee 10, Revilla 8, Deutchman 7, Celda 7, Escoto 6, Salva 6, Arana 6, Galanza 5, Ballesteros 3, Elorde 3, Eriobu 2, Digregorio 0,  Quarterscores: 29-25, 51-57, 82-78, 104-92   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 18th, 2017

Kapamilya star Gerald Anderson is PHI's bet in Los Angeles Marathon

Kapamilya actor and sports enthusiast Gerald Anderson will be playing a new role, this time carrying the country’s pride on his shoulders as our representative to the 2017 Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon set on March 19. Anderson is the Philippines’ bet to the 32nd edition of the annual race where 25,000 runners both amateur and professional from all over the world are set to answer the crack of the starting gun. “I’m very excited and at the same time kinakabahan,” the actor and new Skechers Performance brand ambassador said during the press conference held at Dusit Thani Hotel Tuesday. “But at the end of the day hindi po ako pupunta doon para magpakita lang, para lang i-fulfill ko ang commitment ko sa Skechers. I really wanna go and finish the race sa best time na kaya ko.” Anderson has been training and joining numerous marathons, duathlons and triathlons including the 2015 ASTC Asian Triathlon Cup, Powerman Duathlon Asian Invitational last November and Powerman Duathlon Pilipinas World Series last month where he finished fourth and sixth place, respectively, under the Male 24-29 age group.       For the LA run, Anderson has been training since late last year under triathlon national team coach George Vilog. He added he also trains in his free time during the taping of his upcoming teleserye “Ikaw lang ang IIbigin” opposite Kim Chiu.          “Sakto rin kasi ‘yung bagong teleserye na ginagawa ko is about triathletes and isa akong triathlete doon,” he said.     This will be Anderson’s first 42 kilometer run and he vowed that he will not only cross finish the race but at least log in a decent time considering that he is carrying the nation’s pride. “Siyempre ang isa sa mga goals and motivations ko is not just to finish the race but to have a good time (of finish). Ayoko na nandoon lang ako para magpakita lang ako,” said Anderson, also a skilled basketball player and an auxiliary officer of the Philippine Coast Guard with the rank of lieutenant. “Everything that I do in my life hindi ko naman ginagawa para gawin lang. You always want to be the best of what you do. So abangan na lang natin sa March,” he added.           ---  Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 17th, 2017

Hold the panic button, TNT remains confident despite slump

At the end of 2016, TNT was primed to make a run at the top-2 spots in the Philippine Cup. But after two weeks of play in 2017, the KaTropa suddenly find themselves in a crowded pack where one is surely to be eliminated in about a month. Stuck at 4-4, TNT is tied with four other teams for the 5th-9th spots after a loss on Sunday. A win would have put them tied for second with three games to go. 'Lahat ng teams nasa gitna. Lahat may chance na maka-abot sa twice-to-beat, sayang yung opportunity,' rued TNT star guard Jayson Castro after dropping a 77-88 decision to the Hotshots, their second straight for the new year. Despite the unusual situation they are in right now, no panic buttons have been pressed on the part of TNT. With eight teams separated by only one game in ythe standings, things can certainly chance with three games to go in each of their respective schedules. 'Hindi naman [alarming]. From day one, I've been telling them that there has to be changes. I've been calling out their attention, their names, yung mga dapat nilang baguhin. Change doesn't happen overnight. It's not just letting you know of your mistake and the next day, iba na agad,' head coach Nash Racela said. 'Mindset is to still get as much wins because your position after the eliminations, you don't have control over. Sa amin lang, subukan natin ipanalo every game and kung saan tayo malagay, you just have to prepare for the next battle,' he added. Instead of being worried, Castro shares his head coach's sentiment and remains confident of their chances moving forward. 'Confident pa rin kami kasi alam naman namin na ginagawa namin yung mga kailangan namin gawin,' the Blur said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

Star defense provides best game yet

Since Chito Victolero took control of Star, all he's been preaching about is defense. Sure, the Hotshots haven't gone on to the best start under his reign, going 4-4 in eight games so far, but his crew did put up their best defensive effort Sunday, proof that they may be closer to their goal than their record suggests. Facing a TNT squad coming with with a league-best 100.7 points per game, Star shackled the KaTropa to a season-low 77 points on only 40 percent shooting, effectively taking out the flagship MVP franchise's greatest strength. Of course, the Hotshots won. 'Sabi nga ni coach, our defense against their offense so kailangan talaga i-maintain yung depensa namin. Hindi opensa yung magpapanalo sa amin,' forward Ian Sangalang said who led Star with 14 points in an 88-77 win. 'Yun game plan namin, hindi lalagpas ng 90 yung score nila. Much better na 77 lang yun naging score nila,' he added. After allowing Japeth Aguilar, Vic Manuel, and Calvin Abueva go wild on offense in their previous two defeats, Star has definitely learned its lesson of keeping the opponent's main man under control. They did just that on TNT's Jayson Castro, making it easier to pull off the victory against the KaTropa. 'I'm very proud of our guys, they stepped up on defense especially on Castro. We learned a lot from our previous games, I told them yun ang magagamit natin sa mga darating na important games,' Victolero said. The Hotshot's final three games sure are important as Star is currently in a five-team logjam for the 5th-9th places. One will be elimated by the time regular season wraps up. 'Right now, wala pang nakakasigurado, siguro SMB pa lang. Sabi ko sa kanila, one game at a time lang,' Victolero added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2017

High-scoring Falcons to host Packers in NFC title game

CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer   ATLANTA (AP) — Matt Ryan and the high-scoring Falcons offense will have one more game in the Georgia Dome after all. The Falcons will host the NFC championship game next Sunday against Green Bay after the Packers beat Dallas 34-31 in Sunday's divisional playoff game. Ryan continued his hot streak of turnover-free passing in leading Atlanta to a 36-20 win over Seattle in Saturday's first divisional game. The MVP candidate threw for 338 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against the Seahawks. It was Ryan's fifth straight game without an interception, leading to a five-game winning streak for Atlanta. He has 14 touchdown passes in that span. Ryan and the NFL's top-scoring offense impressed cornerback Richard Sherman and the Seahawks. 'They do a lot of things well,' Sherman said. 'The quarterback gets the ball out, he doesn't turn the ball over, so that will do it.' Ryan was in top form in leading Atlanta to a 33-32 home win over Green Bay on Oct. 30. He completed 28 of 35 passes for 288 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Falcons (12-5) have leaned on Ryan and their balanced offense in their pursuit for the second Super Bowl appearance and first championship. Ryan kept the offense moving against Seattle even as All-Pro Julio Jones aggravated a toe injury. Jones spent much of the second half on the sideline, but still had a game-high six catches for 67 yards and a touchdown in his highly anticipated matchup with Sherman. Jones' status will be closely watched this week. He missed two games this season with the sore toe. He still finished second in the NFL with 1,409 yards receiving on 83 catches, including six for touchdowns. Coach Dan Quinn said Saturday that Jones' injury was 'no concern at the moment' but acknowledged 'it'll be sore.' Added Quinn: 'I anticipate him being ready to rock next week.' Jones was not available for postgame interviews, adding to speculation about the severity of the injury. Ryan has a large list of targets behind Jones. He completed passes to eight receivers against the Seahawks. Running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for seven catches for 102 yards, including a 14-yard scoring catch by Coleman. 'The ability for them to add another receiver to our offense has been critical for us. It really has,' Quinn said. Coleman had 11 carries for 57 yards. Freeman had 14 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Atlanta's run game wasn't overwhelming, but it was effective. 'They didn't run for a lot of yards today but they ran well enough,' Carroll said. 'They ran with authority, I thought. It was a very impressive component. Somewhere in the fourth quarter, they were pounding us pretty good and we couldn't stop them.' Receivers Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel each had four catches. The NFC championship game will be a dramatic final bow for the Georgia Dome. The facility, the team's home for 25 years, will be demolished as the Falcons move into their new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the 2017 season. The Falcons regularly play before sellout crowds, but they rarely open games with the stands full as fans battle Atlanta traffic. On Saturday, most in the crowd of 71,155 were there well before the opening kickoff. Late in the game, with the win a certainty, fans chanted 'MVP! MVP!' for Ryan. 'From the opening kickoff, the dome was rocking,' Ryan said. 'That's got to be as loud as it's ever been in here.' Ryan's reward is another home game with a Super Bowl berth on the line. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Coaches association announces Michael H. Goldberg Award

em>NBCA press release /em> The National Basketball Coaches Association (“NBCA”) is proud to announce the inception of the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award. The Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award will be an annual award given to honor the most successful Head Coach in the National Basketball Association (“NBA”) as voted upon by his or her peers. It will be the only award chosen entirely by NBA Coaches. Every season, Head Coaches representing all 30 NBA Teams will select the winner. The winner of the 2017 Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award will be announced at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 NBA regular season. This award will recognize the dedication and hard work of NBA Head Coaches. The Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award will be presented to a Coach who helped guide his or her players to a higher level of performance on-the-court and showed outstanding service and dedication to the community off-the-court. The Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award is named after the esteemed Michael H. Goldberg, the long-time Executive Director of the National Basketball Coaches Association (a group that encompasses all Head and Assistant Coaches in the NBA and its alumni group). In 1980, six years after the NBCA was founded, Michael H. Goldberg became its first Executive Director. Building upon the existing foundation of the NBCA, he guided it during the years of the greatest growth in professional basketball. He helped gain significant benefits for NBA Coaches, including billions of dollars in increased retirement funds, and disability insurance. And so, the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award honors the substantial contributions of Mr. Goldberg, who set the standard for loyalty, integrity, passionate representation, and tireless promotion of NBA Coaching. “This award honors the life work of a great leader, tireless foot soldier for the best interests of Coaches and the NBA, and most importantly, a trusted friend,” said NBCA President Coach Rick Carlisle. “The Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award will have special meaning because of its namesake and the fact that it is voted on by all Head Coaches.” Mr. Goldberg graduated from New York University in 1963 and later attended St. John's University School of Law, receiving his law degree in 1966. After law school, he joined the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC”) where he was a Branch Chief. He left the SEC in 1972 and became General Counsel for the American Basketball Association (“ABA”). Mr. Goldberg guided the ABA along with its late Commissioner, Dave DeBusschere, until the league merged with the NBA in 1976. Through the agency he founded, National Media Group, Inc., Mr. Goldberg has been a fixture in the business of sports marketing working over the years with a wide variety of prominent corporate sponsors and licensees wishing to promote their products and services through sports/entertainment tie-ins. Among a long list of clients are IBM, American Express, Schick, Fleer Trading Cards, Gatorade, Nike, Self Magazine, Sports Illustrated, the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB. The agency also played a key role in the growth of the sport of basketball in the US and abroad, organizing the Gatorade World Coaches Clinic program, and launching the highly successful NBA/FIBA McDonalds Basketball Championship. He now devotes himself primarily to his work on behalf of the NBCA. “Michael Goldberg is a legend in basketball circles and has distinguished himself by his relentless advocacy on behalf of NBA coaches and his deep caring for everyone involved with our game,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “This new award reflects his vital and everlasting contributions to the NBA.” The Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award will be presented to a Head Coach who exemplifies the same high quality of integrity and excellence that Michael H. Goldberg exhibited during his highly respected career. “It is truly an honor and a privilege to be recognized by this award,” said Michael H. Goldberg, NBCA Executive Director. “I have been very fortunate to work with the National Basketball Coaches Association for over thirty-five years. During this time, I have found the Coaches to be passionate, wise, and caring leaders. This award, determined by peer vote, is tremendously meaningful to our NBA Coaches, the League, as well as for my family and me.” .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Sumang's surge lifts Blackwater over Alaska

Facing a signature comeback by the veteran Aces, the Elite turned to two of their young guns to bail them out. Fortunately, those two young guns responded. Roi Sumang scored 17 points in the second half to power Blackwater's surge, escaping Alaska with a narrow 103-100 decision Sunday the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at the Big Dome. Sumang played big especially down the stretch, scoring an and-one play to give the Elite a 98-91 lead with 1:21 to go. However, in typical Alaska fashion, the Aces refused to give up, cutting the lead down to two just 10 seconds later before Sumang flashed tremendous mental toughness, making another three free throws to create some much-needed separation. Up 103-100 with three seconds left, the Elite watched Calvin Abueva miss a wild three-point attempt and that was the game. Sumang ended up with 19 points on 70 percent shooting but it wasn't actually him who led Blackwater in scoring. That honor belonged to rookie Mac Belo who put up 21 points on only 10 shots including a crucial conversion with 1:45 left that gave the Elite a six-point lead, stopping Alaska's 11-0 run. The win snapped Blackwater's two-game slide and their fifth win against four defeats put them in solo third. Alaska dropped to 4-4. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2017

Alaska, TNT shoot for share of 2nd vs. different foes

Finding their groove following a slow start, the Alaska Aces set their sights on a share of second place as they battle struggling Blackwater Sunday in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at the Big Dome. Winners of four of their last five games, Calvin Abueva and the rest of the Aces (4-3) go for win number five, putting them in a tie with idle Rain or Shine and Globalport for the league's second-best record. In order to do so, they'll have to get past a hungry Elite side looking to bounce back after suffering a pair of tough defeats. Since zooming to a 4-2 start, Blackwater has dropped back to .500 basketball, barely holding on to one of the eight playoff spots as of posting time. The Elite's matchup with the Aces is set at 4:30 p.m. at the Araneta Coliseum. In the second game, TNT KaTropa (4-3) also shoot for a share of second place against a Star (3-4) team that lost all momentum from their recent three-game run. Losing their first game of 2017 against sister team NLEX, the KaTropa look to jump back on the win column as the flagship MVP franchise continue to chase a playoff bonus. Gametime is set at 6:45 p.m.   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Yes Sir: Andy Murray confident he can break Aussie drought

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Andy Murray has become a father, gained the No. 1 ranking and received a knighthood since he left Melbourne Park 50 weeks ago after losing a fifth Australian Open final. Stress weighed him down at the season-opening Grand Slam in 2016, to the point where he thought about quitting the tournament to head back to Britain to be with his heavily pregnant wife. But even that would have presented problems, considering his father-in-law was in a Melbourne hospital after collapsing with an illness while watching a match at the Australian Open. Clearly, he's in a better place this year as he seeks to end his Australian drought. 'I obviously feel pretty confident after the way that last season finished,' he said. 'I do love it here. I love the conditions. I have played really well here over the years, and just haven't managed to get over the final hurdle. 'But, yeah, I think I'm in a decent position, for sure, to do it. I think I have a chance to win here. I'm playing well. Practice has been good. I feel healthy. I'll give it a good shot.' Rumors circulated last year that Murray would go home before facing Djokovic, his Melbourne nemesis, in the final. As it was, he was on the first flight to Heathrow after losing in straight sets — his fourth Australian Open final defeat to Djokovic and fifth overall dating back to 2010. His wife, Kim Sears, gave birth to their first child, Sophia Olivia, the following week. He confirmed Saturday, two days before he opens the 2017 tournament against Illya Marchenko of Ukraine, that he really had thought about leaving early. 'It was a tough tournament, obviously the situation with Kim and the baby coming was tough,' he said. 'Then with what happened with Nigel during the event made it really kind of awkward because there was times ... it was like 'I want to home for the birth,' but then I'm not just going to leave while my father-in-law is also in hospital. 'It was tough, and certainly not a position I would want to put myself in again, or my wife, or any of my family really.' Murray had a stunning end to 2016 after reuniting with Ivan Lendl as coach in June, winning his second Wimbledon title, defending his Olympic gold medal, and adding titles in Beijing, Shanghai, Vienna and Paris to end Djokovic's 122-week stint at No. 1. He then clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking by winning the ATP Finals, beating the players seeded second, third, fourth and fifth. He set a record for most time between gaining the No. 2 and No. 1 rankings — seven years, and 82 days. But he has set a lot of timely records for British tennis in the last three seasons and, in Queen Elizabeth II's New Year's honors list, he received a knighthood from the British monarch for reaching the pinnacle of the sport. Roger Federer was asked if he could remember what it was like back in 2004 when he first became No. 1, and how he'd explain it to Murray. 'It definitely feels different because everybody comes up to you and says, 'You're the best,'' said Federer, who spent a record 302 weeks at No. 1. 'You start walking around a bit differently. Just feel more confident overall in your shots.' Murray said he hasn't really felt a difference yet, but it has only been eight weeks. Considering how hard it was to achieve the top spot, he's hoping it doesn't take twice the energy to hang on to it. 'It is a mindset thing, because I think it could be quite easy that once you get to No. 1 that you think, 'Well, actually, I just need to keep doing what I've been doing,'' he said. 'The reality is that things obviously keep moving on, the game will get better, I'll obviously get older, the young guys will continue to improve, and also Novak and Roger and Stan (Wawrinka) and Rafa (Nadal) and all the guys at the top are still going to be wanting to get there. 'I need to continue to improve. I for sure need to keep working hard.' One thing he doesn't really want to change is how people refer to him now that formally he's recognized as Sir Andy Murray, particularly the broadcasters. 'I'm more than happy just being Andy. That's enough for me,' he said. 'Yeah, if they call me Andy, I'd be happy with that.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2017

Worth a mention: Williams aiming for record 23rd major title

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer   MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Serena Williams definitely doesn't want to talk about the No. 23. She doesn't really want to think about planning a wedding, either, while she's pursuing a Grand Slam record. Newly engaged Williams brushed off concerns about the 88 unforced errors she had in a loss in New Zealand last week in her only warmup tournament ahead of the Australian Open, which starts Monday and where she's aiming for Open-era record 23rd major title. 'I've moved on,' she said. 'I'm feeling relaxed, calm, ready and poised.' Williams responded to questions about milestone achievements last year when she had 21 Grand Slam titles, and it didn't help — she lost the final here to Angelique Kerber and to Garbine Muguruza at the French Open before winning Wimbledon to equal Steffi Graf's Open era mark of 22. She's being more superstitious this time. 'I'm not talking about that,' Williams, a six-time Australian Open winner, said as she shut down questions during a promotional activity this week. 'I said I'm not talking about that. Move on.' Another Australian title is also high on the agenda for Novak Djokovic, who already has won six. But he isn't thinking much beyond his opening match after drawing Fernando Verdasco. A first is the priority for Andy Murray, recently knighted in Britain after finishing 2016 at No. 1. He is looking at the draw from the top for the first time at a major and is hoping it comes with a change in fortunes at Melbourne Park. He has lost five Australian Open finals — the first to Roger Federer in 2010, the other four to Djokovic. Federer could again stand in his way, only at the quarterfinal stage this time. The 17-time major winner slipped down the rankings during six months off last year recovering from an injured left knee and was seeded No. 17. Williams took time off after the U.S. Open, where she lost in the semifinals for the second year running and lost the top ranking to Kerber. The big news during her break was her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian last month, when she posted a poem on the news website to confirm she'd accepted his proposal. After hitting this week with 16-year-old Destanee Aiava, who will be the first person born in the 2000s to play in the main draw of a major when she meets a qualifier in the first round, Williams said her mind was back entirely on business. 'I told (Ohanian) my main goal was to win this title,' she said. 'Yeah, it really doesn't feel like anything different.' No date has been set for the wedding, with Williams' mind on one major thing, so she's not thinking about a dress or a cake, and she's not wearing a ring to practice. 'Oh my God. I don't think about it really,' she said, responding to questions about her marriage plans. 'I'm just ... I don't know I'll have to ask him that. I have a job — I mean, he does too. I kinda gotta focus.' Kerber won the Australian and U.S. Open titles last year, so will be attempting to defend a major for the first time in Melbourne. She may be feeling pressure as the No. 1 seed, having won only one match in two warmup tournaments in Brisbane and Sydney. That doesn't take any pressure off Williams. 'I am No. 2, I guess. I definitely don't feel like anyone's saying that, 'Oh, there's no pressure on Serena,'' she said. 'It's always there, I'm used to it. 'I feel like I've been No. 1 for so long, so many times. I've done things that are amazing. Sometimes that ranking really means a lot, but also I feel like sometimes just winning events ... means just as much.' That's something Djokovic understands. His 122-week streak at No. 1 ended amid Murray's incredible finish to last season, when he won Wimbledon and defended the Olympic gold medal among eight titles he won after reuniting with Ivan Lendl as coach. Before then, Djokovic had beaten Murray in the Australian and French Open finals, his 11th and 12th major titles. Half of those have come in Melbourne, where his victory last year equaled the record six Australian titles Roy Emerson won (1961 and 1963-67). 'I'm feeling phenomenal,' Djokovic said after arriving in Australia following a win over Murray in his season-opening event at Doha. 'Maybe this is the year — 2017 for seven. I'm not a numerologist, but it sounds good.' Murray jumped on a flight almost immediately after last year's final to be with his wife, who was expecting their first child. There have been plenty of changes for him since, becoming a father for the first time, No. 1 in the world for the first time, and reuniting with Lendl. 'Each time I come, I think I've got a chance of winning but it's just never happened,' he said. 'Hopefully, this year will be different. 'I do think the last few months of last year can help me with giving me confidence — other players look at that and see you're playing well and (I) feel physically and mentally strong.' Fourth-seeded Stan Wawrinka, who ended the run of wins by Djokovic and Murray when he won the U.S. Open last September, said the next generation of players such as Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and 2014 U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori would be among the contenders for the Australian title. But he thinks it will be difficult for any new champion to emerge against the likes of the in-form Murray and Djokovic, and the returning Federer and Rafael Nadal. 'So far, last 10 years, the 'Big Four' was really strong,' Wawrinka said, 'so it's going to be interesting to see this year how Novak, Andy, Rafa, and Roger will play.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Acaylar targets volleyball silver in 2017 SEAG

MANILA, Philippines — Newly appointed national men's volleyball team coach Sammy Acaylar is eyeing nothing less than a silver medal in the 29th Southeast Asi.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 13th, 2017

Pelicans, minus Davis, hand Nets eighth straight loss

em>By Jeffrey Bernstein, Associated Press /em> NEW YORK (AP) — Tyreke Evans scored a season-high 29 points and the New Orleans Pelicans, playing without All-Star big man Anthony Davis, defeated the reeling Brooklyn Nets 104-95 on Thursday night (Friday, PHL time). Terrance Jones added 24 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans (16-24), which improved to 6-13 on the road by winning both games during its stay in New York City. Jrue Holiday scored 21 and Solomon Hill had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Davis missed the game with a bruised left hip sustained during Monday night's (Tuesday, PHL time) 110-96 win over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. He participated in pregame warmups in Brooklyn, but didn't shoot. Davis is second in the NBA in scoring, averaging 29.1 points. He ranks sixth with more than 12 rebounds per game. Brook Lopez led the Nets with 20 points and Sean Kilpatrick had 18, but Brooklyn has dropped eight straight and 13-of-14. Brooklyn led 94-91 after Lopez's basket with 3:35 left, but didn't score again until Joe Harris hit 1-of-2 free throws with 23 seconds remaining for the team's final point. Jones contributed six points in the 13-1 run to end the game, including the go-ahead basket with 2:44 remaining. Trevor Booker gave the Nets their largest lead, 56-48, with 1:51 left in the second quarter. Brooklyn used a 10-2 spurt in the third to open a 77-70 advantage and was ahead 79-73 heading into the fourth. Evans tied it at 84 on a three-point play with 8:29 to go, and the score remained close until the Pelicans' late surge. Harris finished with 15 points, while Caris LeVert and Bojan Bogdanovic each scored 10 for the Nets. strong>TIP-INS /strong> em> strong>Pelicans: /strong> /em>Buddy Hield is the only New Orleans player to see action in all 40 games this season. He has started exactly half of them. Nets GM Sean Marks played for New Orleans from 2008-10, appearing in 74 games and averaging 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds. em> strong>Nets: /strong> /em>Booker returned to Brooklyn's starting lineup after missing Tuesday's loss to the Hawks with a bruised left hip. Kilpatrick is the second-leading scorer (14.8 points per game) of any current undrafted NBA player. Only Wes Matthews of the Mavericks (15 ppg entering Friday, PHL time) has a higher average. strong>NEW YORK, NEW YORK /strong> The Pelicans spent nearly all week in New York City. 'If we're here any longer, we're going to have to take out a small business meal loan to continue to eat,' coach Alvin Gentry said. 'Obviously, this is a great city. You can do a million things here and have a million left to do.' strong>OH FOR 2017 /strong> The Nets have yet to win since the calendar turned to the new year. Brooklyn has won only once (on Dec. 27, PHL time, 120-118 over Charlotte) in almost a month. The team's previous win was a 107-97 victory over the Lakers on Dec. 14 (Dec. 15, PHL time) strong>EIGHT IS ENOUGH /strong> The Nets' eight-game losing streak ties the Pelicans, 76ers and Lakers for the longest in the NBA this season. However, Philadelphia has won four of five, the Pelicans have won two straight and the Lakers had won two of three entering Thursday night's (Friday, PHL time) game at San Antonio. strong>UP NEXT /strong> em> strong>Pelicans: /strong> /em>New Orleans visits Chicago on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). The teams meet again in New Orleans on April 2 (April 3, PHL time). The Bulls have won four in a row in the series, sweeping the Pelicans in each of the last two seasons. em> strong>Nets: /strong> /em>Brooklyn visits Toronto on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). The Nets lost 116-104 there on Dec. 20 (Dec. 21, PHL time). The teams play again next week (Jan. 18, PHL time) and next month (Feb. 6, PHL time). The Raptors have won five straight in the series, including all four meetings last season. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2017

Giants need to turn their attention to fixing the offense

TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer br /> EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AP) — Hiring Ben McAdoo to replace Tom Coughlin as coach, spending a mint on the defense in free agency and picking up a couple of gems in the first two rounds of the NFL draft got the New York Giants back to the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Despite a one-sided wild-card loss to the Packers on Sunday, there is much optimism looking toward 2017. The team went from 6-10 the past two seasons to an 11-5 regular-season mark that included a pair of wins over the NFC top-seeded Dallas Cowboys. All general manager Jerry Reese has to do in the offseason is fix the offense this time around, with a lot less money to spend in free agency. The unit that was supposed to be the strength of the team failed to score 30 points in any game and wrapped up the year by scoring less than 20 in the final six games, including Sunday's 38-13 setback to the Packers. The running game was among the worst in the league and 36-year-old Eli Manning never had much time to throw. Odell Beckham Jr. was his big weapon — 101 catches, including 10 touchdowns — but there was little else outside of him and rookie Sterling Shepard, the second-round pick. 'We felt that we had the talent and the coaching in the scheme this year to have a better year than we had,' McAdoo said. 'We obviously fell short from an offensive prospective.' The offensive line might need the most attention. Left tackle Ereck Flowers, the No. 1 pick in 2015, has underperformed, and right guard John Jerry and right tackle Marshall Newhouse will be unrestricted free agents. A decision has to be made on the future of receiver Victor Cruz. He played after missing most of the last two seasons but was limited to 39 catches playing on the outside instead of his normal slot position, which was given to Shepard. 'Obviously you can't do everything in one year, or one draft, or one free agency period,' Reese said. 'We have things that we can build on. We want to continue to build on every position and upgrade where we can, and build as strong a football team as we can, moving forward.' Most of the players in the locker room felt the foundation was set for the future and a fifth Super Bowl title for the Giants. 'I'm by no means satisfied,' linebacker Devon Kennard said. 'I don't think anybody in this locker room is satisfied with how things ended. It's going to be motivation for us moving forward.' .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Ginebra struggling with life without Justin Brownlee

Safe to say, Brgy. Ginebra is missing a familiar figure in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup. A familiar figure that wears jersey no. 32 and goes by the name Justin Brownlee. Struggling to put together a winning streak in the All-Filipino after winning their first championship in eight years during the Governors' Cup, the Gin Kings are longing for their prolific import as they consistently stay inconsistent in the new PBA season. 'Maraming adjustments kasi unang-una, dati si Justin [Brownlee] nandun para sa amin,' Scottie Thompson said after Ginebra lost to San Miguel, dropping its record to 3-4. 'Ngayon wala na si Justin so kailangan namin mag-take over. Siguro yun yung medyo magulo sa team ngayon, yung role namin sa isa't-isa,' he added addressing the locals. Still below .500 with only four games left in the regular season, confidence hasn't left the Ginebra side entirely. Especially with the way they played the champs Sunday night, holding them down to only 72 points and marking three-time Most Valuable Player June Mar Fajardo to single digits. 'Actually, si coach Tim [Cone], sabi niya sa amin kung ganito lang lagi lalaruin namin, siguro darating din ang mga panalo. Okay naman siya, siguro kailangan lang namin yung finish sa bandang huli,' Thompson said.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Fun and games, Dimitrov finds a way to break title drought

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer br /> BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Grigor Dimitrov concentrated on fun and games at the season-opening Brisbane International, looking for something a bit different to his regular routine. It turns out, that's what he'd been missing. Dimitrov ended a title drought that dated back to 2014 when he beat third-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 in the final on Sunday. The 25-year-old Bulgarian attributed some late-night trips to the game arcades in downtown Brisbane for the change of fortunes. 'I played motor bikes, we played cars, basketball, I mean, I went there with my fitness coach and we were — I think we were the biggest kids out there,' he said. 'You know, it's something so childish, if you want to say it. 'Well, every time I was going to bed, I was, like, 'Wow, that feels so good.' It's just something so small.' Dimitrov, dubbed 'Baby Fed' earlier in his career for his style similarities with Roger Federer, lost the Brisbane International final to Andy Murray in 2013. He won three titles and reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014 as he rose to a career-high ranking of No. 8. But his form faded and he slipped down the rankings to No. 40 by the middle of last year. That's when he had to make some decisions, refocus, set some goals. The first was to win a tournament in 2017 — he's achieved that in the first week of the season. There are other goals, including better runs at the Grand Slams — he hasn't been past the fourth round since a career peak in the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014, when he beat Murray but lost to Novak Djokovic. He entered the season-opening Brisbane event ranked No. 17 and seeded seventh, and could rise to No. 15 for the Australian Open, which starts Jan. 16. 'It's been pretty emotional,' Dimitrov said. 'This trophy means a lot.' He didn't elaborate too much on any emotional upheaval, saying it's part and parcel of touring so much as a professional player. But he did say he needed to adjust how he spends his time on the road. 'I'm the kind of guy that I cannot just lock myself in the room and just think tennis for 24 hours. It hasn't helped me,' he said. 'And since I have been here, every night I've been going to the arcades, for example, for an hour and a half, been playing arcades. It's given me tremendous joy. 'That's why I say those, I think, these 10 days that I have been here — I don't remember having so much fun, but in the same time I was very focused, played quite solid all the matches. So I was just — overall, I just felt good.' He beat defending champion Milos Raonic in the semifinals, improving his career record to 3-1 against the big-serving Canadian. He'd never beaten Nishikori in three previous matches, and he had to save break points in the first game and again in the third. After that, he went on a roll. Nishikori, who reached his first Brisbane final after losing three previous semifinals, fended off a breakpoint early in the second set and went on to break Dimitrov's serve twice in an almost reverse of the first set. But the Japanese star lost momentum after a medical timeout for a left hip problem after the second set, and Dimitrov dominated before getting the decisive break in the eighth game and then serving out at love. Nishikori said the hip pain was intense in the second set, and may force him out of a scheduled exhibition match in Sydney on Monday before he heads to Melbourne. 'Well, sort of it was OK, but yeah, a little bit sad to finish (the tournament) like this,' he said. 'But I think it was great week to start of the year. I had good four matches here. Well, I try to stay healthy next week and hope I can be ready for,' for the Australian Open. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 9th, 2017

Jericho shines in his own version of the "flu game"

Jericho Cruz was beastly for Rain or Shine in its first PBA game 0f 2017, going for 21 points in a 15-point Elasto Painters victory. More importantly, the underrated former Adamson Falcon buried a trifecta of dagger treys in the fourth quarter to put a stop on an impending Phoenix uprising, handing ROS its fifth win for the season. However, what's more impressive of Cruz's efficient outing was the fact that he came into the game battling flu. In fact, he didn't even expect to play much but ended up logging over 27 minutes agains tthe Fuel Masters. 'Siguro coming into this game, di ko ine-expect na bibigyan ako ni coach Caloy ng playing time kasi I was sick for three, four days na. Typical flu lang, nung second quarter sobrang hirap makahinga sa court,' Cruz said. 'Pero ayun, yung trust niya sakin nandun, kaya siguro pinaglaro niya ako. It paid off naman,' he added. As for his trio of long-range bombs though, Cruz is happy he got to do it in a PBA game but he's not at all surprised that hes' starting to make those looks. After all, he's going to practice everyday competing with Jeff Chan and James Yap, two expert marksmen on their own right. 'Siguro may tima na nagulat, pero kasi, araw-araw mi naman pina-practice ang shooting,' he said. 'I double my hardwork. Everyday I come in early and after practice I try to improve on my shooting. Para kahit papano ma-math ko lang shooting nila [Jeff and James],' Cruz added.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 8th, 2017

NLEX comes "home" to ambush KaTropa

The answer to NLEX's struggles, at least to the team's horrible five-game losing skid, was found at 'home.' Travelling to the home province of head coach Yeng Guiao, the Road Warriors rode a solid second half to pummel sister team TNT, 110-98, Saturday in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Gym in Angeles, Pampanga. In trouble after the KaTropa erased a 12-point deficit to take a 94-93 lead with 6:13 to go, NLEX went on a 17-4 tear the rest of the way to win only its second game of the new season. The Road Warriors lost their previous five games by double digits before taking care of TNT, improving to 2-5 and leaving idle Mahindra at the bottom of the team standings. After fighting to a stalemate in the first half, NLEX came out firing in the third quarter, leading by as much as 12, 74-62, after an Eric Camson basket. However, in typical TNT fashion, the KaTropa would respond and even take the lead back before the period ended courtesy of a Larry Fonacier trey, 80-78. Carlo Lastimosa showed his scoring prowess by dropping a game-high 22 points for the Road Warriors on 72 percent shooting. Sean Anthony added a double-double and ended up with 13 points and 13 rebounds. TNT lost a golden opportunity to move into solo second with the loss and is now tied with idle Phoenix and Globalport for third place with identical 4-3 cards. Jayson Castro, who is also from Pampanga, once again came off the bench to lead the KaTropa with 17 points. TNT actually got 72 points from its reserves with Mo Tautuaa and Kris Rosales adding 15 points apiece. No TNT starter scored in double figures.   br /> The scores:  NLEX 110 - Lastimosa 22, Anthony 13, Alas 12, Camson 12, Guinto 11, J. Villanueva 7, E. Villanueva 7, Rios 6, Baracael 5, Lanete 4, Taulava 3, Monfort 3, Khobuntin 3, Gotladera 2. TNT 98 - Castro 17, Tautuaa 15, Rosales 15, Fonacier 9, Reyes 7, Rosario 7, De Ocampo 7, Williams 6, Rosser 6, Carey 5, Seigle 4, Golla 0, Pogoy 0, Tamsi 0. Quarters: 24-26, 52-52, 85-81, 110-98 br /> --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8 .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2017

Ronaldo favored to win his 4th FIFA award as world's best

GRAHAM DUNBAR, AP Sports Writer br /> Cristiano Ronaldo's remarkable run of success can continue with a fourth FIFA award as the world's best player on Monday. A European champion with club and country last year, the Real Madrid and Portugal forward is favored to beat great rival Lionel Messi and France forward Antoine Griezmann when winners of the rebranded Best FIFA Football Awards are presented in Zurich. Messi leads Ronaldo 5-3 in their career-long duel for FIFA's top individual prize. However, Ronaldo is set to complete a hat-trick of major awards for 2016 after taking home trophies presented by UEFA and France Football magazine's prestiguous Golden Ball. FIFA will also name the best women's player, and the best coaches in men's and women's soccer. Voting is by national team captains and coaches, selected journalists and — for the first time — an online poll of fans. Each category counts for 25 percent of the points. Here is a look ahead to the awards ceremony: ___ CRISTIANO RONALDO After Messi in 2015, it was Ronaldo's turn to win the Champions League in 2016 as the prolific scorer netted 16 goals in the competition. He also got the decisive penalty in a shootout after a 1-1 draw with Griezmann's Atletico Madrid. But where he really dominated Messi was on the national-team stage. Ronaldo captained Portugal to a long-awaited first title at the European Championship — two weeks after Messi's Argentina again lost the Copa America final to Chile. Portugal seemed a long way from glory, and faced a humiliating group-stage exit, before Ronaldo's two goals helped salvage a 3-3 draw with Hungary. He also netted in the 2-0 semifinal win against Wales. In the final against host France, Ronaldo went off injured in the first half, then returned to the bench for extra time as — with his knee strapped — he passionately urged teammates on to a 1-0 win. For good measure, Ronaldo scored a Club World Cup final hat trick against Kashima Antlers in December, but that was after FIFA voting had closed. ___ LIONEL MESSI Messi looks to extend a streak of being winner or runner-up in nine straight seasons since placing second behind Kaka of Brazil in 2007. Last year, Messi and won a Spanish league and Cup double with Barcelona. Yet there was another painful Copa America final loss — a third straight year Argentina lost a major final without scoring — and a Champions League quarterfinal exit against Atletico. Nearing his 30th birthday, Messi's prolific scoring rate has not slowed, and 10 goals in the Champions League group stage means that Ronaldo's season record of 17 — set in 2013-14 — is within his sight this year. ___ ANTOINE GRIEZMANN Griezmann's goals helped get France and Atletico Madrid into major finals in 2016. In the Champions League final in Milan, Atletico trailed 1-0 to its city rival when Griezmann missed with a penalty kick that struck the crossbar. Still, he confidently converted his kick in the penalty shootout. Griezmann's six goals at Euro 2016 made him the tournament top scorer. In a tricky round of 16 match, his two goals overturned an early Ireland lead, and he also struck twice — including a coolly taken penalty — against favored Germany in the semifinals. However, he missed two good chances in the final against Portugal as France 1-0 in extra time. ___ COACHING AWARD Could the coach of a provincial club side beat the men who coached European champions Real Madrid and Portugal? Yes, when that coach is Italian Claudio Ranieri and his team, unheralded Leicester City, won an English Premier League title that delighted and stunned fans worldwide. Zinedine Zidane started 2016 having never coached a senior match. The newly appointed Madrid coach won a Champions League title within five months and started 2017 riding a 37-match unbeaten run. Fernando Santos marshalled one of the less obviously talented Portugal teams of recent years to win Euro 2016 despite winning only one of its seven matches during the 90 minutes. ___ WOMEN'S AWARDS Germany's Olympic gold medal-winning team is favored to sweep the awards. Midfielder Melanie Behringer is challenging two past FIFA award winners: defending champion Carli Lloyd of the United States and five-time winner Marta of Brazil. All three coaching candidates are previous FIFA award winners: Silvia Neid of Germany, last year's winner Jill Ellis of the United States and Pia Sundhage of Sweden. ___ FIFA AWARDS FIFA has added a Fan Award to its annual ceremony, and all three candidates from an online poll are European. Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, whose fans sang You'll Never Walk Alone before a Europa League match at Anfield; Dutch club ADO Den Haag, whose fans brought soft toys to children supporting rival team Feyenoord; and the Iceland fans at Euro 2016 for their inspirational clapping salute to players after games. A fans' vote will also decide the Puskas Award for best goal. The candidates are: Marlone of Corinthians, Daniuska Rodriguez of the Venezuela women's Under-17 team, and Mohd Faiz Subri of Malaysian side Penang. FIFA will also present a Fair Play award, and members of the players' union FIFPro worldwide have voted to select a World XI team. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017

NLEX look to ambush TNT in its "home court"

The answer to NLEX's struggles may be found at 'home.' Losers of five straight games by double digits, the Road Warriors are nowhere near the look of contenders in the Philippines Cup. However, Yeng Guiao's boys can start turning things around Saturday as NLEX battles sister team TNT KaTropa in Guiao's home province of Pampanga. Since beating Alaska in overtime to start the season, NLEX has been on a free-fall, a laundry list of disappointments that included injuries and even a trade demand from veteran big man Asi Taulava. But, as the first out of town game of 2017, the Road Warriors can do their coach proud by taking advantage of what should be a home court advantage for NLEX. Standing in their way of redemption is TNT as the flagship MVP franchise look to keep piling up victories to keep in step with Rain or Shine and San Miguel for that twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals. Winning four of their last five games, the KaTropa have adjusted themselves quite nicely in new head coach Nash Racela's system, making TNT fulfill its tag as preseason favorites. Gametime of the MVP sister act is scheduled at 5:00 p.m. at the Angeles University Foundation in Angeles City, Pampanga. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 6th, 2017